2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
|Race 18 of 20 in the 2012 Formula One season|
|Date||4 November 2012|
|Official name||2012 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix|
|Location||Yas Marina Circuit
Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
|Course||Permanent racing facility
5.554 km (3.451 mi)
|Distance||55 laps, 305.355 km (189.739 mi)|
|Driver||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault|
|Time||1:43.964 on lap 54|
|Third||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault|
The 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (formally the 2012 Formula 1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race that was held on 4 November 2012 at the Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, UAE. It was the eighteenth round of the 2012 Formula One season, and the fourth Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The race, contested over 55 laps, was won by Kimi Räikkönen driving for the Lotus team, from a fourth position start. Fernando Alonso finished second in a Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel third for the Red Bull team.
The Grand Prix was contested by twelve teams, each of two drivers. The teams, also known as constructors, were Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Lotus, Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso, Williams, Caterham, HRT and Marussia. The drag reduction system (DRS) had two activation zones for the race; one was on the straight between turns 7 and 8, and the second on the straight between turns 10 and 11.
Going into the race, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel led the World Drivers' Championship with 240 points; Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso was second on 227 points. Behind Vettel and Alonso in the Drivers' Championship, Kimi Räikkönen was third on 173 points in a Lotus, with Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton on 167 and 165 points respectively. In the Constructors' Championship, Red Bull were leading on 407 points and Ferrari were second on 316 points, with McLaren third on 306 points.
The sport's sole tyre supplier Pirelli, provided two specifications of slick dry tyres for the race, designated Medium (also referred to as the "prime" tyre) and Soft (also referred to as the "option" tyre). The Medium compound was distinguished by a white-band with the Soft compound being distinguished by a yellow-band. As was the case for all the 2012 Grands Prix, the rules stipulated that all cars should use both types of tyre during the course of the race, and each driver was limited to eleven sets of dry tyres for the weekend.
Practice and qualifying
Three practice sessions were held before the Sunday race—two on Friday from 13:30 to 15:00 and 17:00 to 18:30 local time, and a third on Saturday afternoon between 14:00 to 15:00. The first practice session took place in dry conditions. The ambient temperaure was 32 °C (90 °F), and the track temperature was 43 °C (109 °F). Hamilton set the session's fastest time with a lap of 1 minute and 43.285 seconds, three-tenths of a second ahead of Jenson Button. Vettel and Alonso, were third and fourth fastest. Webber finished the fifth fastest driver. Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, set the sixth and eighth fastest times respectively for Mercedes; they were separated by Pastor Maldonado. The other Williams of Bruno Senna and Räikkönen completed the top ten.
The second practice session was held in similar weather to the first; the only difference was a slightly higher track temperature of 45 °C (113 °F). During this session, Vettel set the fastest time of the session, a 1:41.751. The McLaren drivers ran slower— Hamilton in second and Button in third. Webber improved by setting the fourth fastest time. The Lotus cars were running quicker—Romain Grosjean in fifth and Räikkönen sixth. They were ahead of the Ferrari drivers Massa and Alonso, Maldonado and Sauber driver Sergio Pérez.
Saturday's weather was again dry for the third and final practice session, with an ambient temperature of 32 °C (90 °F) and a track temperature of 47 °C (117 °F). Hamilton set the fastest time, a 1:42.130, quicker than his best from Friday's first practice session. This put him ahead of Button, Vettel and Webber. Räikkönen and di Resta completed the top ten ahead of qualifying.
Saturday afternoon's qualifying session was divided into three parts. The first part ran for 20 minutes and eliminated the cars from qualifying that finished the session 18th or lower. During this session, the 107% rule was in effect, which necessitated each driver set a time within 107% of the quickest lap to qualify for the race. The second part of qualifying lasted 15 minutes and eliminated cars that finished in positions 11 to 17. The final part of qualifying determined the positions from first to tenth, and decided pole position.
Hamilton set the fastest time in the first, second and final parts of the session, which clinched him pole position with a lap of 1:40.630. Hamilton was joined on the front row by Webber, who recorded a lap time 0.357 seconds slower. Vettel set the third fastest lap, but ran out of fuel after qualifying ended, which prevented race officials to obtain an mandatory one-litre sample of fuel for analysis. Red Bull elected to start Vettel from the pit-lane. All of the remaining drivers that qualified behind Vettel were promoted one place on the grid.
Sergio Pérez was the fastest driver not to advance into the final session, qualifying 11th; his best time of 1:42.084 was just over a second slower than Hamilton's pace in the second session. Jean-Éric Vergne (Toro Rosso), Heikki Kovalainen (Caterham), Charles Pic (Marussia), Vitaly Petrov (Caterham), Timo Glock (Marussia) and HRT drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Narain Karthikeyan failed to advance beyond the first part of qualifying, and thus completed the final rows of the grid.
The race took place in the evening from 17:00 local time, in dry and sunny weather, with an ambient temperature of 29 °C (84 °F), and a track temperature ranging from 29 and 34 °C (84 and 93 °F). At the start of the parade lap, Pedro de la Rosa stalled on the grid in his HRT which caused him to have to start from the pits behind Sebastian Vettel. When the race began, Hamilton led into the first corner, while Kimi Räikkönen passed Mark Webber and Pastor Maldonado to take 2nd. Contact between Bruno Senna and Nico Hülkenberg caused the Force India driver to retire from the race. During the first lap, Fernando Alonso overtook both Button and Webber. Briefly, Hamilton allowed Räikkönen to challenge him for the lead on the straight between turns 10 and 11 as he went off the track, but Hamilton stayed ahead. While this was happening, Vettel took some slight damage to his front wing as he had made contact with Senna while attempting to overtake.
On Lap 5, Romain Grosjean made a move on Nico Rosberg at Turns 8 and 9, but ended up with a puncture on the right front which made contact with Rosberg's front wing. Both drivers had to pit – Grosjean for a set of tyres and Rosberg for a new nosecone.
Four laps later, on Lap 9, Rosberg and Narain Karthikeyan were involved in a collision. Karthikeyan braked due to a steering problem, causing Rosberg who was right behind him to crash into him, bringing both out of the race but unharmed, and sending out the safety car. During the safety car period, when Daniel Ricciardo was weaving and braking, Sebastian Vettel was unaware, and he swerved to avoid the Toro Rosso and hit the DRS board at the side of the track, causing more damage to his front wing. Red Bull soon gave the instruction to fit a new front wing on Vettel's car, along with a set of soft tyres.
On Lap 20, the race leader Lewis Hamilton slowed to a halt as a technical issue with his McLaren put him out of the race. Kimi Räikkönen inherited the lead as a result. No safety car was required as he had parked his car in a safe position. On the next lap, Fernando Alonso managed to overtake Pastor Maldonado with the assistance of DRS. On lap 23, while attempting the same move on Pastor Maldonado, Mark Webber made contact with the Williams, causing him to spin and lose places to Button, Felipe Massa and Sergio Pérez, dropping from fourth to seventh. By this time, Sebastian Vettel had fought his way up to tenth place. Lap 24 saw Jenson Button pass Pastor Maldonado for third. By lap 31, Vettel was up into second, about twenty seconds behind Kimi Räikkönen, and his subsequent pit stop on lap 37 put him down to fourth.
Drama continued on lap 38 as Paul di Resta and Sergio Pérez tried to overtake Romain Grosjean. Pérez ran wide, and when entering the track again, he collided with Grosjean who then collected Mark Webber, taking the Lotus and Red Bull out of the race and earning Pérez a ten-second stop and go penalty. This sent out the safety car once more.
In the closing laps, Fernando Alonso put in quick laps to catch Kimi Räikkönen, as Vettel took advantage of the safety car to close up to Jenson Button and get past on lap 51. Räikkönen, however, managed to do just enough to hold off the Ferrari to win the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, his only win of 2012, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel.
|Pos.||No.||Driver||Constructor||Part 1||Part 2||Part 3||Grid|
|2||2||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||1:41.933||1:41.277||1:40.987||2|
|10||12||Nico Hülkenberg||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.579||1:42.019||10|
|12||11||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||1:42.572||1:42.218||12|
|16||16||Daniel Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:43.280||1:42.765||16|
|17||17||Jean-Éric Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||1:44.058||17|
|22||22||Pedro de la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||1:45.766||22|
|EX||1||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull-Renault||1:42.160||1:41.511||1:41.073||PL1|
|107% time: 1:48.601|
- ^1 – Sebastian Vettel, who set a 1:41.073 qualifying time in Q3 and subsequently would have started from third position, was excluded from the qualifying results for violating the rules by not having enough fuel to return to the pits. However, the stewards allowed him to start the race from the last grid position. Red Bull opted to make set-up changes before the race, which meant that Sebastian Vettel had to start from the pit lane.
- ^1 – Pedro de la Rosa failed to start the formation lap when a cord from one of his tyre blankets became caught up in the wheel, and he therefore started in the pit lane behind Sebastian Vettel.
Championship standings after the race
- Note: Only the top five positions are included for both sets of standings.
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- "Pirelli reveal tyre choices for final three rounds". Formula One. 16 October 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013.
- "2012 Formula One Sporting Regulations" (PDF). FIA.com. Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. 7 December 2011. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Creighton, Geoff; Hughes, Emlyn (2 November 2012). "As it happened: Friday practice one". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- Benson, Andrew (2 November 2012). "Abu Dhabi: Lewis Hamilton heads Jenson Button in first practice". BBC Sport (BBC). Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- Creighton, Geoff; Hughes, Emlyn (2 November 2012). "As it happened: Friday practice two". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Abu Dhabi GP - Friday - Practice Session 2 Report". Inside F1. GrandPrix.com. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- Creighton, Geoff; Hughes, Emlyn (3 November 2012). "As it happened: Saturday practice". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 14 June 2014.
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- Elizade, Pablo (3 November 2012). "Abu Dhabi GP: Red Bull opts to start Sebastian Vettel". Autosport (Haymarket Publication). Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- Cary, Tom (3 November 2012). "Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2012: Sebastian Vettel to start from the pit-lane after being excluded from qualifying". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- Beer, Matt (3 November 2012). "Lewis Hamilton beats Mark Webber to pole position". Autosport (Haymarket Publications). Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "Red Bull take tactical option of starting from pitlane". Sky Sports (BSkyB). 3 November 2012. Retrieved 3 November 2012.
- "Raikkonen wins for Lotus as Vettel finishes third". Autosport.com (Haymaket Publications). 4 November 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2012.
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